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Election 2000: Presidential Race Too Close to Call; Hillary Clinton Headed for the SenateAired November 8, 2000 - 7:24 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Daylight breaking over the White House, where the staff is likely try to figure out if they are going to be redecorating in Bush red or Gore blue. The presidential race is still close to call, as we wait for the state of Florida to recount its votes.
Also, things changing on Capitol Hill as we take a look at the balance of power in Congress -- changing, but not by that much. The GOP keeps control of the House. Most incumbents won easily. A few seats changed party hands. Republicans now hold 223 prior to the election to Democrats' 210. Now, two hours ago, Democratic challenger Adam Schiff beat GOP incumbent James Rogan in Southern California's 27th Congressional District, known as Pasadena, California, where the demographic has shifted from a predominately Republican district to a more Democratic profile. Rogan, as you might recall, was one of the House managers during the Clinton impeachment battle.
Republicans, though, appear to keep control of the Senate with five incumbents being tossed out. Previously at stake: 19 seats for the Republicans, 15 for the Democrats. Wisconsin and Michigan are still undecided.
However, in the state of Washington, CNN earlier projected Democrat Maria Cantwell the winner over incumbent Republican Slade Gorton. That race now too close to call. You might recall that Maria Cantwell is the dot.com executive who's spent $7 million of her own money in this Democratic race.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. And that is just one of many, many races last night that produced some incred -- some very interesting stories. You know, of course, the presidential race and the closeness of it is historic. However, that does not mean that we can overlook what's being made -- the history that's being made, that is, in the Senate this morning.
LIN: That's right. For the first time, a first lady will become a United States senator. Now, consider this: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, declared the winner, defeats Rick Lazio.
HARRIS: Let's take a look at the numbers that were involve in this race, if we can bring that particular graphic up. Do we have the graphic for the numbers? There we go. She did it rather soundly. Hillary Rodham Clinton coming in with 56 percent of the vote in New York. And Rick Lazio, now the former congressman Rick Lazio, coming in with 44 percent of the vote in New York. And that's with 99 percent of the precincts reporting.
LIN: That's right. Women making the big difference in that race, coming out for the first lady.
Now, let's take a look at that race, a more close -- a closer look at it. CNN's Frank Buckley is in New York, covering reaction to the election of Senator-elect Clinton -- Frank.
FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol.
Polls show that Mrs. Clinton was expected to win this race. And in fact, Mrs. Clinton did. But no one expected this margin of victory to be double digits.
BUCKLEY (voice-over): It was Hillary Clinton's night. President Clinton, the spouse in the background, on this election night, as the first lady thanked New York voters for electing her to the U.S. Senate.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D) NEW YORK SEN. ELECT: And I am determined to make a difference for all of you.
BUCKLEY: Hillary Clinton's quest for a Senate seat concluding with a run-away victory over her Republican opponent, Congressman Rick Lazio.
REP. RICK LAZIO (R), FMR. N.Y. SEN. CANDIDATE: I feel like the Mets. We came in second.
BUCKLEY: Lazio largely ran as the anti-Hillary. The congressman conceding defeat, however, in a phone call to the first lady.
LAZIO: I congratulated her. And it's time for us -- it's time for us to hold our heads up high and to unify our state and to stand together.
BUCKLEY: Mrs. Clinton put together a successful formula in capturing the Senate seat, winning three-quarters of the vote in New York city, and doing extremely well upstate, with a double-digit win in the urban areas there, while running respectively in the traditionally Republican rural areas. Mrs. Clinton thanking the voters she courted for 16 months.
CLINTON: You taught me, you tested me, and you shared with me your challenges and concerns.
BUCKLEY: It was a race that resembled a brawl at times, but Mrs. Clinton told Democrats it was time to move on.
CLINTON: Today, we voted as Democrats and Republicans; tomorrow, we begin again as New Yorkers. BUCKLEY: The first lady saying she was overwhelmed by the support she had received.
CLINTON: And I will work my heart out for the next six years for all of you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And God bless ...
BUCKLEY: And so, while on the -- in the presidential race, it was a photo finish. The New York newspapers, "Daily News" here in particular, had a safe bet in their early edition front cover in the other major political story here in New York, "Capitol Hill" is how they played it in the "Daily News" late last night when they first came out with this first edition.
Later today, at around noon Eastern, Mrs. Clinton is expected to have a news conference. After that, we are not quite sure what she's going to be doing. I actually had the pleasure of waking up one of the press secretaries this morning, who made the unfortunate mistake of leaving her cell phone on this morning. So we are not sure what she'll be doing the rest of the day. But at noon, we are expecting to hear from Mrs. Clinton -- Carol.
LIN: And nobody is sleeping. All right, thanks so much, Frank.
HARRIS: She will be spending the rest of the day throwing that cell phone out of a window somewhere no doubt.
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